It doesn’t matter if your digital agency is the best in the world. If clients receive bad service that’s all they will remember.
The people who work with clients are the face of your business. The skill and quality of their support are what will define how a client sees you.
How well you listen to clients is essential for successful relationships. And how well you attend to their needs and desires.
Smart companies are always looking out for opportunities to enhance client service. If they don’t, their client relationships stagnate and even fail.
Strengthen your service through these proven strategies:
1. Set clear goals and expectations
Digital agencies shape client expectations. Many clients may not even know what they’re looking for.
Goal-setting is especially important when working on a client’s behalf. You both need to play a part in the process. Set out with a clear discussion of expectations for both sides.
Create realistic goals based on past experience and desired future outcomes.
To do this:
- Fully break down the process. Present a well-organised campaign. Let the client know when you need their input and feedback. These touchpoints define how your agency interacts with clients. They may be regular email updates, meetings, or presentations of creative direction.
- Get client buy-in. Create plans together so clients feel confident and excited about the campaign. Client buy-in provides a counter-argument if they suddenly want to change everything.
- Be careful you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Few things are worse than failing to deliver on your promises. This is a quick way to end a relationship with a valuable client. Clients need direction and like to feel they’re in safe hands. Set attainable targets for yourself.
2. Understand your clients thoroughly
When you win a new client, you need to commit time and energy to learn about them. You need to grasp these areas:
- The client’s business. Knowing a client’s products is not enough to develop a marketing campaign. You must grasp their business model, goals, and challenges. Review the business until you understand it inside and out.
- The client’s customers. Look beyond your client to their customers. Understand what these people like and think needs improvement.
- The latest marketing techniques. Clients expect you to bring the latest innovations to their campaigns.
The ATE Group launched a notable campaign for Resorts World Sentosa in 2015. It used a variety of platforms to reach nearly 1 billion people.
Pay particular attention to how the ATE Group combined old and new media outreach. Be creative to find the best solution for your clients.
This was a massive project. Your clients may not be on the scale. But the same strategies apply. Know their businesses. Know their customers. And know how to combine strategies for the best results.
3. Work together as partners
Some clients may give 100% autonomy while others want to be present in every step along the way.
Client input always deserves respect. But you should be free to use your expertise.
If a client says they need something you’re unable to provide or doesn’t give you enough freedom, this is a red flag. Once again, clear expectations are vital.
Wherever possible, craft ideas together. This means involving clients throughout the process.
- Be transparent and communicate openly.
- Be proactive and anticipate issues.
- Be honest; cover-ups are always worse than the crimes themselves.
- Be receptive so you can be sure to deliver what the client wants.
As you build experience, you will be able to recognise good clients and bad clients to work with. And yes, you’ll meet a ton of clients that are difficult to work with.
You have to ask yourself whether it’s worth it. If you can find other work, you’re better off refunding any money paid and ending it there.
If you must drop a project, make sure you are professional and courteous. You don’t want your reputation to take a hit.
4. Report progress and results
The frequency and quality of reports make a huge difference when dealing with clients.
Clear regular reporting shows you value the client. It also allows you to show progress. This builds trust.
Analytics is a great way for your clients to visualise progress. Make sure they understand what graphs mean. And how to use this information for growth.
5. Deliver on promises
Your word is your bond. There’s no excuse for not meeting expectations.
Following up on promises demonstrates your agency’s transparency. It also will help build feelings of trust and dependability with your audience.
6. Ensure client success
Good customer service is a never-ending learning process. So your client success team must offer the right amount of patience, empathy, and consistency.
It isn’t just about relying on CRM software alone. They’ll have to be able to handle upset clients as well.
To do this, your client success team should be:
- Knowledgeable about your services. Reps need to stay informed. This is so they can respond to the majority of client enquiries. When the questions become too taxing, they need to know where to find the answers.
- Great listeners. People are not always good at explaining what they want.
- Ready for surprises. Reps must be able to cope with surprises because every client is different. Reps need to sense individual client moods and be willing to adapt as necessary. They cannot stand still.
- Good communicators. They don’t want clients to misunderstand. Clients shouldn’t think they are receiving a 50% discount when they’re receiving 50% more of what they ordered.
- Positive. Their outlook and manner must be cheerful whatever happens. Conversations must never end without confirmation that the client is satisfied.
- Equipped with a strong work ethic. Clients like a representative to see their problems through to a resolution. Reps must also have skilful time management. They must not spend excess time dealing with one client while others wait. The focus must be on goals to achieve the right balance.
- Able to handle negative feedback. Working towards every client’s happiness should be the chief goal. They should handle stress and not get flustered.
- Conduct regular surveys of clients. This allows you to track your reps’ abilities and skills. Asking clients for feedback is a good way of seeing where your team does and doesn’t measure up.
The importance of client touchpoints
Bad client experiences can happen at any time. This is why you must pay attention to key touchpoints during the client journey.
During these moments, take time to review the relationship. Is everything going well? Are they satisfied? Use touchpoints for moments of feedback so clients can provide input. This gets relationships back on the right track.
Enhance interactions with clients
Small agencies have the advantage of getting to know clients on a personal basis. Your client service team should know your clients well. This makes it easier to work through challenges and build better communication.
When training reps, be sure to place an emphasis on ensuring clients feel they are heard.
When issues arise, reps need to assert their control over situations. They can refocus the client’s attention and resolve the issue.
After solving problems, it’s important to follow up. A quick email or survey can work wonders.
How to handle good (and bad) feedback
Address problems before they arise. It’s much easier to solve a problem before a client experiences it.
All forms of contact should be personalised. Even template emails addressed to specific people. Don’t rely on automated email responses. People don’t like them and may send your emails to the spam filter instead.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Yelp, and Twitter are very useful. They can help build client relationships. Photos and bios on your website prove that you have real people working on their behalf.
When clients post something, make sure to always reply. Easy communication satisfies existing clients and sets a good foundation for prospective ones.
Make communication easy
Clients should be able to easily reach reps. They should have access to direct email addresses, phone numbers, and other channels.
Nowadays, many people don’t work 9-5 schedules. This is especially true if you’re working across different countries. Provide more open scheduling to accommodate client needs.
Build specific connections
Build solid relationships between chosen reps and clients. Your best clients deserve VIP treatment. They’ll reward you with loyalty and referrals.
Ask them what privileges or perks appeal to them. Set up focus groups, have interviews with clients, and send out surveys. People like being asked to impart their opinions.
Building a brand community can lead to clients feeling even more valued. Opportunities for meeting clients include webinars, social media, trade shows, and conventions. This a great two-way opportunity for networking and growth.
Build an engaged support team
Dissatisfied employees are a turn-off for clients. You need to understand what makes your employees tick.
Having engaged employees ensures clients have great experiences when dealing with your business.
Ask them how they feel about their jobs and talk about career development so they feel motivated. Let them know how their work is important. Because it is!
Provide reps with the appropriate training. And, give them the tools that they need to offer the best client service possible.
Make it easy for clients to give feedback
Even the most proactive client success team can’t predict every issue.
Create many opportunities for clients to give feedback. This will make it much easier to learn what areas of your operation need improving.
It also helps to pacify unhappy clients. You don’t want their displeasure emblazoned on your social media pages.
Getting close to your clients helps identify strengths and weaknesses in your business. More than anything, it builds the network you need for business growth.
Test what you have learned
- Why is client success so important?
- How can you strengthen the ways that you serve clients?
- What are some ways to handle client feedback?
- How can you make clients feel valued?
- What methods are available to get feedback from clients?
- Why are all the touchpoints important when it comes to client service?